The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

Don't Count Them Out

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The Dallas Cowboys are far from done with Tony Romo sidelined for the next month. It's not as devastating as it first appears, though combined with Dallas's play of late, it certainly brings the Cowboys back to earth in a big way. Nothing like the Cardinals and Rams showing the Cowboys and Redskins there are no guarantees in the NFL. Interestingly, the "red-hot" Rams host Dallas next week without Romo. St. Louis couldn't possibly beat Dallas, could they?

The answer is probably not, even with this generation's Steve DeBerg suiting up in the starter's role next weekend. Yes, it's true, Brad Johnson is still in the league. After St. Louis, the Cowboys face the Bucs and then travel to the Giants before the all-important bye-week. There's a loss in there. Without Romo, there might be a couple of losses in there.

The emergence of the NFC's North and South divisions (except for Detroit, naturally) combined with the always competitive NFC East means there will be a tight race for the divisions and coveted two Wild Card spots. There are 12 NFC teams with a .500 record or better right now. Dallas has the same record as Atlanta after six games. That's incredible.

So now we'll see how the Cowboys do without their young stud QB. Will Johnson try to force the ball to T.O. to escape his wrath? Will he force the action? Will teams blitz the 40-year-old and hurry him into making mistakes?

There's lots of football left to be played. It appears many of the remaining games should come with Romo taking the snaps, so the injury is a setback, but far from a potentially lost season. However, the Cowboys have their doubters now. Doubters who believe there's a reason Romo and Wade Phillips can't win in the post-season; reasons why Jerry Jones's once-dominating franchise hasn't won a playoff game since 1996.

Will the Cowboys miss the playoffs? Probably not. But, and now it's not certain. Last I checked, QB's are key to a successful season.

With all this said, watch Romo return and lead the Cowboys to the Super Bowl. The point is, it's the NFL -- and you just never know.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  October 14, 2008; 1:11 AM ET  | Category:  NFL , Quarterbacks Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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